Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Archbishop Jovan Released from Prison in Macedonia

00 Police handcuffing Abp Jovan. 06.12

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On 2 February 2015, a court decision in Skopje released Archbishop Jovan Vraniškovski of Ohrid (SPC) from Idrizovo Prison. On 15 November 2014, during their meeting in Belgrade, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias and Patriarch Irinej Gavrilović of Serbia discussed Archbishop Jovan’s health and general situation. On 20 December 2014, with the blessing of Patriarchs Kirill and Irinej, Metropolitan Ilarion Alfeyev, Chairman of the MP Synodal Department for External Church Relations (OVTsS), visited Skopje and met with Archbishop Jovan. On the same day, Metropolitan Ilarion met with Macedonian government leaders, President of the Republic of the Macedonia Ǵorge Ivanov and President of the Macedonian Government Nikola Gruevski. He also met Archbishop Stefan, head of the uncanonical Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC). On 28 January 2015, Patriarchs Kirill and Irinej blessed Bishop Irinej of Backa and Archimandrite Filip Vasiltseva to visit Archbishop Jovan at the prison. With the blessing of Patriarch Irinej, and at Patriarch Kirill’s invitation, Archbishop Jovan will soon go to Moscow for medical treatment. Both the MP and the SPC give thanksgiving to God for the welcome release of Archbishop Jovan.

3 February 2015

Patriarchia.ru

MP official website

http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/3980105.html

Friday, 23 January 2015

Macedonia: Bishop Jovan Kept in Prison Despite Deal to Release Him

00 Police handcuffing Abp Jovan. 06.12

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The Prokuratura in Skopje filed a complaint against a decision to release SPC Archbishop Jovan Vraniškovski of Ohrid, thus, he must stay in prison. Previously, a court decided that Bishop Jovan should receive conditional release and leave prison on 19 January. According to Macedonian media, the turnabout came “at the last-minute”. Archbishop Jovan is serving a sentence for allegedly embezzling 250,000 Euros (18 million Roubles. 1.75 million Renminbi. 17.45 million INR. 282,000 USD. 352,000 CAD. 353,000 AUD. 189,000 UK Pounds); the uncanonical Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC) brought the charges against him. On Tuesday, Beta said that Vladyki Jovan was once in the MPC, but later sought “canonical unity with the SPC”; he’s now the head of “the SPC Orthodox Archdiocese of Ohrid“.

The Prokuratura Office for Combating Organised Crime and Corruption announced that it believed that the court should re-examine the circumstances of the decision to release him, as well as “whether the release would achieve the objectives intended”. It also stated that the Prokuratura believed that there’s evidence of “changed circumstances which indicate that the convicted person in the future may continue to commit criminal acts, so, therefore, doesn’t justify the trust shown toward him when granting provisional release”. The Prokuratura said in a statement on 12 January, after receiving the ruling to set Archbishop Jovan free, “After analysing the circumstances, we determine that the solution was lawful”, announcing at the same time, “We wouldn’t appeal against the decision”.

The MPC, which laid the original charges against Vladyki Jovan, is now in favour of his release. After mediation from the MP in late 2014, the MPC called on the government to “show mercy” toward Archbishop Jovan. Since he’s been ill, the imprisoned bishop recently had a brief stay in hospital in Skopje. After the announcement that he’d receive release “for good behaviour”, the SPC in Macedonia said that it’d seek “unconditional acquittal of all charges” against him. The SPC believed that the bishop’s incarceration was due to political decisions, namely, due to the dispute between the churches. The SPC doesn’t recognise the MPC as autocephalous.

20 January 2015

B92

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region.php?yyyy=2015&mm=01&dd=20&nav_id=92925

Editor:

Obviously, this is due to American interference… you can thank such champions of “American Exceptionalism” as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. These guys posture as “Christians”… I think not. It’s clear that the MPC wasn’t behind this, as it’d scupper all talks between them and the SPC. If you marched in the March for Life, you marched AGAINST Vladyki Jovan, as you marched in support of the amoral sectarian Republican opponents of Christ’s Church. Think things through, or you might end by doing the opposite of what you intended. Do think twice before agreeing with such pro-sectarian traitors as Josiah Trenham, Jonas Paffhausen, and Patrick Reardon. Some “Pro-Life”…

BMD

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

BREAKING NEWS… Russian Mediation Springs Archbishop Jovan from Macedonian Slam… Alfeyev Confabbed with Macedonian Leaders in December

00 Archbishop Jovan in Prison. 06.12

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A court in Skopje granted conditional release to Archbishop Jovan Vraniškovski, the head of the SPC Orthodox Archdiocese of Ohrid, on 19 January. Meanwhile, Tanjug reported that the uncanonical Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC) expects that a dialogue with the SPC on its status would begin afterwards, with mediation from the MP Synodal Department for External Church Relations (OVTsS). Metropolitan Petar of Prespa and Pelagonija, the MPC administrator for Australia and New Zealand, announced in an interview with TV Sunce that the MPC Holy Synod would most likely discuss this. Skopje media reported that he said that the MPC expects a positive response from the MP, which has stepped in to mediate in the dispute over the status of the MPC. The MPC is uncanonical; the SPC considers it schismatic since it declared autocephaly unilaterally in 1967.

Following “insistence” from MP sources, Macedonia will free Archbishop Jovan on conditional release after spending three years in prison. Visiting Macedonia on 21 December 2014, Metropolitan Ilarion Alfeyev, the head of the OVTsS, urged Vraniškovski’s provisional release. Metropolitan Ilarion made the request during meetings with the head of the MPC Archdiocese of Ohrid, President of the Macedonian Government Nikola Gruevski, and President of the Republic of the Macedonia Ǵorge Ivanov… who has the constitutional power to pardon… and also met with Vraniškovski.

Since 2003, the Macedonian authorities arrested Archbishop Jovan Vraniškovski six times on different charges, including public disorder when he tried to conduct a baptism ceremony in a church the MPC sees as its own. He also faced charges of “inciting ethnic and religious hatred” for having “slandered the MPC” and spent a total of almost 18 months in prison. The authorities last arrested Vraniškovski on 12 December 2011, upon entering Macedonia from Greece, on charges of having misappropriated 250,000 Euros (17.8 million Roubles. 1.84 million Renmnbi. 18.4 million INR. 296,000 USD. 349,000 CAD. 363,000 AUD. 196,000 UK Pounds). He returned to the country to request a retrial, only to have the cops arrest him and dump him in Idrizovo prison near Skopje, where he remains to this day.

The MPC defrocked Archbishop Jovan and the SPC appointed him as Serbian exarch in Macedonia. The SPC believes that Archbishop Jovan is a victim of rigged political trials because of his opposition to the schism, while Amnesty International and Freedom House said that he’s a prisoner of conscience. Tanjug reported that the stated position of the MP is, “We’d be unable to help in the Macedonian-Serbian church dispute for as long as Vraniškovski remains in prison”.

13 January 2015

B92

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region.php?yyyy=2015&mm=01&dd=13&nav_id=92852

Editor:

Note that this was due to Russian mediation. Is the MP up to something? Is the Russian state up to something? If the MPC and SPC reconcile, will the Phanar sit at table or will it pout and stay away on American orders? This would complicate any all-Orthodox Sobor in 2016. Besides that, is this part of a Russian effort to prise Macedonia out of the American orbit? Look at Russian efforts in Hungary, Slovakia, and Greece… it’s also tempting Romania with pieces of the Ukraine. It looks like the American project in Eastern Europe is unravelling, and right quickly, too.

BMD

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

SPC Brings “Ecclesiastical Charges” against Schismatical MPC Archbishop

00 Archbishop Jovan in Prison. 06.12

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On Tuesday, the SPC Holy Synod announced its decision to bring ecclesiastical charges against Archbishop Stefan, the head of the canonically unrecognised Macedonian Orthodox Church (MPC). The Synod issued a statement, “By its inveterate persistence in schism, the MPC participates in the un-Christian persecution of Archbishop Jovan Vraniškovski, the canonically recognised head of the autonomous Orthodox Archdiocese of Ohrid, its priests, monks, and believers”. At the Holy Assembly in May, the SPC emphasised that it’s ready to start a dialogue “on establishing canonical order, religious peace, and brotherly love with the church in the neighbouring and friendly Macedonia”, stressing that a condition for this is the release of the unjustly imprisoned Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid. The Assembly noted that the arrest of Archbishop Jovan was a result of demands from top MPC figures. The SPC considers the MPC as a schismatical body. It also noted that Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis and Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow also sent the same message to the canonically unrecognised MPC.

In July this year, the Macedonian Appellate Court upheld the first instance ruling sentencing Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje to three years in prison for allegedly embezzling 250,000 Euros (12.4 million Roubles. 2 million Renminbi. 19.8 million INR. 324,000 USD. 356,000 CAD. 357,000 AUD. 200,000 UK Pounds). Archbishop Jovan received a three-year prison sentence on 2 July 2013 in Skopje. He appealed this judgment in November, but the second instance court dismissed the appeal as unfounded. In his submission to the Skopje Appellate Court, Vladyki Jovan stated, “In the 12 years since its establishment, the Macedonian authorities have subjected the Orthodox Archdiocese of Ohrid to persecution, who deny its application for official registration to this day, which would make it a legal religious organisation”.

Since 2003, Macedonian authorities arrested Archbishop Jovan six times on different charges, including public disorder when he tried to conduct a baptism ceremony in a church the MPC claims as its own. They also charged him with “inciting ethnic and religious hatred” for having “slandered the MPC”, spending a total of almost 18 months in prison. His last arrest was on 12 December 2011, upon entering Macedonia from Greece, on charges of embezzling 250,000 Euros. According to his lawyers, he returned to the country to request a retrial, but they arrested him and threw him in Idrizovo Prison near Skopje, where they still hold him under difficult conditions.

The MPC is canonically unrecognised, and the SPC considered it a schismatical body ever since it declared autocephaly unilaterally in 1967. The MPC defrocked Bishop Jovan when the SPC appointed him as its exarch in Macedonia. The SPC believes Archbishop Jovan to be the victim of rigged political trials because of his opposition to the schism, whilst Amnesty International and Freedom House stated that he’s a prisoner of conscience. Two prominent Macedonian bishops, Timotej and Pimen, publicly requested Vladyki Jovan’s pardon. Unofficially, most MPC bishops would support a pardon, except for Archbishop Stefan and Bishops Petar and Agatangel.

27 August 2014

B92

http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region.php?yyyy=2014&mm=08&dd=27&nav_id=91416

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